Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

The Best of The Question Box

by Father I.J. Mikulski

(From the February 20, 2014 edition of the Inland Register)

Father I.J. Mikulski Q. While my husband, who is not Catholic, attended Mass with me, I always broke off a little piece of my Communion Host and gave it to him. I thought if the Lord was here he wouldnít refuse him. Now it bothers me that I did that. Weíre in our early 80s. Can you give me a simple answer?

A. The simple answer is that you should not have shared little bits of our Eucharist. The first book of Catholic instructions, the Didache by St. Justin, about 150 A.D., stated, ďno one may share it unless he believes our teaching is true and has been cleansed in the bath of forgiveness for sin and rebirth.Ē Over the centuries there must be a hundred similar official statements, all of them stating we should not share our Eucharist with others as though itís inter-changeable with other faiths. It isnít. Our Eucharist is not now, and never has been, a vehicle to promote ecumenical understanding.

Letís consider this positive plan. You know your husband better than anyone. Suggest (now thereís a word for a loving wifeís gift of persuasion) that both of you ask your resident pastor for a crash course of Catholic instruction. Your early 80s may be the perfect time for both of you to stand side by side to receive Eucharist together as one.

Q. I have this interesting book. The more I read about dreams and how to understand them, the more I agree with the Bibleís way of sending dreams as a method God uses to communicate with us. It happens with me. Donít you agree?

A. The interpretation of dreams has experts in psychological sciences on all sides of the issue. Some say yes, some say no, some say just the opposite. Itís an open field for psychologists. Theologians merely step aside to observe the discussions of dissenting experts.

The belief that dreams are a means of divine communication was common in the ancient world. People consulted dream readers with extensive collections of formulae for divination. The magi astrologists may have been dreamologists.

The Bible gives a few instances of dreams as a direct method of divine communication, but those passages show a lot more folklore than genuine faith. Can God communicate with us through dreams? God can communicate with anyone any way he pleases.

It would be wrong to attach undue importance to dreams, to become obsessed with dreams, to let dreams dominate lifeís decisions as though thereís something extraterrestrial about them. Thatís just borderline silly superstition that comes close to getting sinful.

Dreams are part of everyoneís life. So befriend your dreams, do not fear them. Listen to them, enjoy them, share them. May the good ones come true, may the bad ones vanish.

Q. We once had to memorize the sacraments in proper order. Will you please explain why we have seven, beginning with baptism?

A. Our sacramental system easily serves three distinct purposes.

Initiation. Baptism is the introduction to a life of grace in Jesus Christ. Confirmation is step two in a natural sequence that strengthens that relationship. Eucharist is the crowning summit with the total Christ as our source of all graces.

Healing. Reconciliation (confession) forgives sins, heals wounds, reunites repentant members with the community. Anointing the sick strengthens members who are suffering illness, perhaps near death.

Community. Matrimony blesses the total commitment of a man and a woman to each other and the community. Holy Orders gives certain members the privilege of administering the other sacraments, especially the communityís best, Eucharist.

Itís a divine design sacramental system from birth to death.

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